Northern Ireland’s first abortion clinic to open next week

And everyone is thrilled! Just kidding, there’s been a huge outcry in the heavily Catholic country.

The clinic will be run by Marie Stopes International, and will offer a range of other reproductive health services (which is a bummer, because “abortion mill” is so much easier to say than “abortion and other reproductive health services mill”).

Bernadette Smith, of an organization called Precious Life, is absolutely outraged. “I am absolutely outraged. An organisation which is making profits from the death of unborn children is not welcome in Northern Ireland.” Smith called for more crisis pregnancy centres, which she claims has helped bring down the rate of abortion and the rate of women travelling to England to obtain terminations.

The medical director at Maries Stopes International, Dr. Nancy Franklin, is prepared for push-back, and that despite the objections of some, Irish women need the clinic:

We know there will be opposition but we also hope there will be some support from the people of Northern Ireland. We think this is a positive move and we believe there is a need.

Many women from Northern Ireland travel to England for terminations every year. We also know of woman who are unable to make that journey. If we can provide, in the right circumstances, for those women who meet the criteria, this is the right thing to do.

But, the location of the clinic has not yet been revealed for fears of pickets and protests. It won’t take anti-choicers long to figure it out, and uh, women are going to need to know where they can go for reproductive healthcare, so I’m sure Marie Stopes has additional strategies for protecting patients and practitioners.

Abortion is only legal in Northern Ireland if the woman’s life is in danger, or if the pregnancy will do permanent or long term damage to her physical or mental health.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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